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On disc: Blind Melon

For My Friends - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

For My Friends

For My Friends
(e.a.r. Music - 2009)

The American rockers Blind Melon started back in 1989, they made a lot friends with their rock, but not everybody was falling for Blind Melon. During a tour - to support their sophomore album - singer Shannon Hoon died from a heart attack, result of a cocaine overdose. That was the end of Blind Melon in 1995. About 10 years later the band reunited and hired Travis Warren in 2006 to replace Hoon. With singer Travis Warren Blind Melon recorded For My Friends, their first album in 12 years. Well, for European fans it's been 13 years, coz the album ist just now in stores - about a year after the US release.
Right from the start Blind Melon's songs were based on the rock of the 60's and 70's incl. psychedelic elements. And that's the basis for their new songs as well, just that they add some other elements this time. Singer Travis Warren sounds quite like Shannon Hoon without being a copycat.
They open with the title track For My Friends, a 60's rock song without the psychedelic escapades some might expect. The heavy guitar-based rocker With The Right Set Of Eyes is catchy and with it's earthy 70's sound it wins you over right away. One of my favorites is Wishing Well, even if I can't really tell why this is sticking out... It's catchy, emotional and guitar-driven. Cool one! At Down On The Pharmacy bassist Brad Smith' play is quite prominent. Make A Difference kicks off heavily, but then becomes a catchy melodic rocker with a 60's vibe. Acoustically they kick off Last Laugh, a melodic rock tune which has a dash of the Beatles... A bit melancholy, but far from being depressive. At Father Time they present a great emotional guitar solo while the guitar at So High seems to sing til Travis Warren takes over. Another melodic rocker with a cool hook line. The closer Cheetum Street starts with acoustic guitar and vocals - and reminds me a bit of Tesla when they do acoustics... Later the band joins in and the song becomes a laid back rocker with a dash of country.
Fans of Blind Melon won't be disappointed, but every fan of 60's & 70's guitar rock should check out For My Friends. This time Blind Melon are less psychedelic and so will make some new friends. I recommend: Wishing Well, Last Laugh, Tumblin' Down and So High.

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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